Spring '24 Issue No. 10

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Say hello to College Scheduler, the College’s new registration system

Students will have a choice as to how they register for their fall 2024 classes this semester. They can either continue to use PAWS or try College Scheduler, the registration system that will soon replace PAWS in this role entirely.

The College started using the Personal and Academic Web Services System, or PAWS, in 2009, and the system’s age has become noticeable to students.

“The system feels so outdated compared to other programs we use, such as Canvas,” said Megan Heintz, a senior biology major. “It took me a while to learn where to find certain things, such as where to register for classes or see my unofficial transcripts.”

The College originally planned to give PAWS a fresh coat of paint after graduation this semester. Yet, when Student Government asked the administration to update the class registration software through a resolution passed in October 2022, the College sped up their plans by purchasing College Scheduler.

“We were not necessarily looking for an external product to help with student registration,” said Heba Jahama, the director of Records and Registration. “Without the SG resolution, I do not know if we would have ever purchased College Scheduler…I do think that was prompted by the concerns the students brought to us.”

Dylan Nguyen, executive president

of SG and senior communications major, drafted the resolution during his sophomore year after hearing complaints from the student body and has worked hard to make his resolution a reality.

“I felt amazing when I heard that [the College] truly listened to student concerns and took action to improve the student experience,” said Nguyen. “It was not an easy journey by any means, but I am very happy that it is coming to fruition!”

College Scheduler itself has undergone beta testing from peer mentors from the Center of Student Success and cabinet members from SG, including Nguyen and Jared Williams, executive vice president of SG and junior political science major. Beta testing has occurred for about a

Moonroof makes their mark at WTSR’s

As the lights began to dim in the Kendall Hall TV studio, the audience went quiet in preparation for the live performances to commence at WTSR 91.3 FM’s semi-annual event, Underground, on Feb. 24 and 25. At Underground, the radio station, along with Lions TV, brings in local artists and bands from the Mercer and Bucks County area to record live studio sessions and performances.

Mainly focusing on alternative and indie music, WTSR provides over 20 genres of music, hourly news updates and college sports and podcasts 24/7 from the studios located in Kendall Hall. This semester, the station brought in 10 different bands from the surrounding area, all with a unique and alternative sound. One of the bands that performed on the Saturday show, Moonroof, participated in an interview with WTSR and The Signal to discuss their passion for performing.

“Putting together a live set of songs and sharing it with people and connecting with people in that way is something you can’t get from anything else,” guitarist Eric Juelke said.

The Philadelphia-based band consists of lead singer Dave Kim, 29, drummer Dan Rendine, 29, guitarist Johnny

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Fordyce, 25, and bassist Kevin Randolph, 30. Juelke, 23, who is not an official member of the band, joined Moonroof at the College for its WTSR Underground set.

Kim, Randolph and Rendine met while they were students attending Bloomsburg University. The three got their start playing at open mics and festivals at the university. After receiving positive feedback from audiences, they decided to pursue music together as the band Moonroof, which made its official debut in 2018.

see WTSR page 12

month, but no one has found any major problems with the system.

“I would not say that there are any cons,” said Williams. “The system works fast; it is efficient and effective…I really do think that students are going to like it.”

Once the system is active, students will be able to access it by signing into PAWS and clicking the button labeled “College Scheduler.” This will direct them to the system’s landing page, where they will immediately see how modern it looks compared to PAWS. Williams’s favorite aspect of the system is that students can now find classes based on the professors teaching them. This will give students the freedom to choose classes based on previous experiences with a particular

professor or recommendations from classmates.

“Within my major, there are a lot of professors that are truly elite…and I want to take more of their classes,” said Williams. “And I know the same is true for a lot of students…That is one [feature] that I really appreciate that PAWS did not have and think students will appreciate as well.”

Once students select their classes, they can move on to Nguyen’s favorite feature: the schedule generator. This allows students to create every possible schedule based on the classes they selected. Then, during their enrollment appointment, they can select the schedule that works best for them instead of registering for classes one at a time.

“The class schedule generator is…[an] amazing feature,” said Nguyen. “This will allow you to choose the schedule that works best for you since you will be able to visualize all your possible class combinations beforehand.”

As for Jahama, she appreciates how proactive the system is about making sure no classes overlap. For the staff of Records and Registration, this will make pre-registering incoming freshmen a simpler task.

“Sometimes,...there is no possible class schedule that is going to fit all of [a student’s activities],” said Jahama. “And it takes a while for us to find that out… [College Scheduler] does a lot of that work for you.”

Read more on our website!

Men’s basketball wins NJAC title, gets auto bid to NCAA Tournament

The Lions have capped off their magical New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament run with a 75-62 victory on the road over Stockton University in the final on Feb. 24. This win gave head coach Matthew Goldsmith his second conference title in his ninth season as the coach, with the other being in 2020.

The College, the No. 5 seed in the tournament, became the first seed lower than No. 2 to win the NJAC Championship, and they were also the first team to win the title while winning three road games.

Winning the NJAC title game gives the Lions an automatic bid into the Division III Men’s NCAA Tournament. It will be the second appearance for the College of the 21st century, with the other also being in 2020, and it will be their eighth in the school’s history.

In the championship game, the College was able to get out to an early lead to put them far ahead. The first three minutes of the game were a little back and forth, but the rest of the first half was all Lions. In the next three minutes, they went on a quick 11-0 run that put them

up 16-6. After a bit of fight back from the Ospreys, who were able to cut the lead to six, the College was then able to go on another quick run, this time scoring eight unanswered.

Towards the end of the first half, the College was able to put together another 10-0 run, which ballooned the lead to 17 with around three minutes left before halftime. This run was led by fifth year forward James Beckwith, who scored the final eight of the 10 points.

The Ospreys, however, were able to get themselves back within striking distance, as they went on a 9-0 run of their own to end the half. The halftime score was 45-37, with the Lions up.

Stockton gave the College a few scares in the second half. The Lions were able to grow the lead up to 15 points many different times early on in the half, but a bunch of mini runs kept the Ospreys in the game. For a while, the College’s offense struggled to do anything, and they were unable to put the game away.

For a seven-minute stretch, the College did not score a point, and they gave Stockton every chance to get back into the game and come back from the massive lead built by the Lions.

see BASKETBALL page 16

The Signal Vol. LIII, No. 10 Serving The College of New Jersey since 1885 March 1, 2024 https://www.tcnjsignalnews.com/
The College started using the Personal and Academic Web Services System, or PAWS, in 2009 Photo by Shane Gillespie
Interim Provost and Vice President for academic affairs
McCotter is no stranger to the classroom.
FEATURES page 4 New Provost Newly-appointed
podcasts are harmless and can offer insightful life advice, but others feed into negative or harmful stereotypes about different groups of people.
OPINIONS page 6 Podcasts Many
swim wins NJAC
Lions dominated the meet, as eight school records were broken.
dance battle Kohesion, the College’s K-Pop dance team, recently hosted Street K-Fighter, a competitive dance battle.
SPORTS page 16 Men’s
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT page 12 Kohesion
Photo by Ally Uhlendorf Moonroof performs at Underground.

Student Government proposes improved meal equivalency usage

At the College, meal equivalency swipes, available with certain meal plans, provide the flexibility to enjoy on-campus dining locations outside of the dining hall, the Atrium at Eickhoff. One meal equivalency swipe covers up to $8.93 of a purchase and can be used at The Library Café, The Lions Den, Traditions, T-Dubs and more.

However, students are limited to five meal equivalency swipes per week, which can only be used once daily from Monday through Friday.

Last November, Aria Chaileh, Student Government’s vice president for student services, presented a fivestep proposal to transform dining services at the College. Along with more meal options and inclusive dining, the proposal included significant changes to the meal equivalency system to better

TCNJ named top producer of Fulbrights

The U.S. Department of State has appointed the College as one of the top “Fulbright-Producing Institutions” in the state of New Jersey for the 2023-2024 academic year. Along with Princeton and Rutgers, the College is one of three institutions to receive this title.

The Fulbright Program is one of the country’s first established international educational exchange programs. The program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

“The specific requirements and opportunities vary depending on the host country, but some of the common ways Fulbright grants can be used include: conducting research; completing a one-year master’s degree program; and working as an English Teaching Assistant,” said Jennifer Palmgren, assistant provost for academic affairs. “One of the goals of the program is to promote mutual understanding, so participants are expected to live, work and engage with the host community during the grant.”

According to the United States Department of State, the program is led by the U.S. government and partners with more than 160 countries. The program offers opportunities for students, scholars, artists, teachers and many other professionals to pursue their professional passions.

In the Fulbright directory, there are 24 grantees produced from the College. Since 2010, the college has produced 21 Fulbright grantees, showcasing the institution’s commitment to global education and exchange.

For the 2023-2024 academic year, three graduates from the College were selected for Fulbright awards. Jennifer Choi ‘18, Master of Art in Teaching ‘19, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Certification ‘22, earned an English Teaching

accommodate students.

Chalileh’s goal, supported by Sarah Levin, Student Government’s dining services chair, is for students to be allowed a total of five meal equivalency swipes that are allocated per week, including the weekends. This would provide students the opportunity to use their meal equivalency swipes up to three times in one day and during any meal period between Sunday and Saturday.

“My goal with these proposed changes is to ensure that students feel as though they have more choice within their dining plan,” said Chalileh. “I also hope that students will become more satisfied with the dining experience overall, as the expanded options will relieve many of the problems currently faced by students.”

In addition, the proposal includes a request to change the start time of meal equivalency at T-Dubs from 9 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“I really like the idea of meal equivalency starting at 5 p.m. at T-Dubs,” said Kamryn Super, a freshman english and secondary education major. “I normally crave dinner around five or six and it stinks that I have to wait until 9 p.m. to use my meal equiv. there.”

“When I found out you could not use meal equiv., I have not gone to eat at

T-Dubs or the Stud on the weekends,” added Daniel Giblin, a freshman history major. “Having a meal equiv. available on Saturdays and Sundays would be great.”

According to the Student Government Instagram page, “immense strides” have recently been made to improve dining services on campus. The page shared a post on Feb. 16 requesting the student body fill out a Google Form to support the proposed changes to the meal equivalency system. The form also asks for feedback to further understand the student body’s opinions and push the initiative.

“The response to the Google Form has been absolutely incredible so far,” added Chalileh in an interview. “It has been so heartwarming to see students be so receptive to this proposal, and I am confident that Dining Services will be receptive as a result.”

Chalileh plans to meet with dining services in the coming days and keep the student body updated on the results.

“Through my role as vice president of student services, I have been actively working to improve the dining experience as a whole for all current and future TCNJ students,” Chalileh explained. “I hope this change to the meal equivalency system is another step in the right direction.”

Assistantship in South Korea; Maeve Franklin ‘23 received an English Teaching Assistantship to Taiwan; and Serina Montero ‘23 received an English Teaching Assistantship to Spain.

Montero reflected on her experience of participating in the University Teaching Assistantship, expressing gratitude for the opportunities she has received through the program. She emphasizes the myriad of benefits applicants can gain based on their specific grants, showcasing the diverse avenues the Fulbright Program offers for personal and professional development.

“There are various career and academic benefits that individuals gain based on their specific interests and specific grants,” Montero said. “For me, the University Teaching Assistantship in Spain has allowed me to explore the world and improve my Spanish before I look for a full-time job in the States.”

Additionally, Montero gained new global knowledge, and she encourages students to continue expanding their knowledge.

“One of my takeaways from working at a university abroad is the importance of global and language diversity in the classroom,” Montero said. “As someone who has been working toward Spanish fluency for years, I encourage anyone who is studying to keep going. Languages can build bridges and unlock doors.”

To apply for the Fulbright awards, students can either send an application through the College’s process or as atlarge candidates. “If [students] apply through the campus process at the College, they will have the opportunity to meet with a campus committee in September to review their application prior to the national deadline,” Palmgren said.

The competition opens in April, and the national deadline is in October. For aspiring Fulbright candidates, the College is planning a Fulbright information session on April 8.

March 1, 2024 The Signal page 2
The proposed changes would allow meal equivalency to be used on the weekends. Photo by Shane Gillespie
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Grad programs seek to up enrollment after years of stagnation

The College currently has 35 graduate and certificate programs encompassing fields ranging from school counseling to public policy. As it faces budgetary challenges, the College is looking to have a greater graduate program presence in the region to pull in revenue.

Even after years of growing and creating new programs, however, there has not been significant growth in the number of graduate students. The College currently has 641 graduate and certificate students, less than 1/10th the number of undergraduate students.

“Covid-19 really set back a lot of our graduate programs,” said Lynn Mayger, the new interim dean of graduate and continuing studies, in an interview with The Signal. “And so last year, I think was the first year we’re really kind of getting our footing again.”

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, however, graduate enrollment was stagnant. Five academic years ago there were 632 graduate students and in fall 2014 — 10 academic years ago — there were 666 students.

“There was no investment in graduate programs, so all of the systems at TCNJ really supported undergraduates,” Mayger said. “Marketing supported

the undergraduate program. In the last year, [Suzanne McCotter] really started to create systems around graduate programs.”

Prior to being appointed interim provost, McCotter spent a year as dean of graduate and continuing studies. During that time, McCotter and her team set up policies and procedures in order to better support current programs and explore possible future degree offerings.

“I think we’ve made a lot of progress on all of those goals,” McCotter said.

Last semester, Interim President Michael Bernstein announced that the College would be developing a School of Continuing Education and Professional Studies. This new school will combine all of the College’s graduate and continuing studies programs into one place to better manage the growing need for graduate students.

A committee of faculty and staff members headed by Mayger has been formed to develop a business plan and marketing strategy for the new school. They will focus on creating steps to achieve $550,000 in revenue for FY2026 and $4 million in FY2028.

“We have budget issues like most higher ed places, so we’re having to take a look at where do we invest, where do we need to streamline,” Mayger said. “Nobody likes to be the one to say, you know, this is the place we have to

economize, but those are some of the choices that we are struggling with.”

The committee is also tasked with exploring online graduate degree and certificate options.

“We know that we need to make some major investments into really high quality online blended instruction in order to meet [students’] needs,” McCotter said.

Recent undergraduate students are used to traditional in-person instruction, but adults returning to graduate school have different needs. By providing online instruction, the College can not only better suit the needs of these types of students, but can expand into other markets outside of the northeast.

On top of exploring how they are offered, the College is exploring the types of degrees that are available.

There has been an increase in new degrees in recent years, with seven new degrees being offered since the 20192020 academic year. On top of those seven, the College will be offering three new degrees starting next fall: a Master of Arts in professional studies, a Master of Science in accounting and business analytics, and a Master of Science in management and organizations.

“We are always looking for new areas that are right, particularly those that can build on our strong undergraduate programs,” McCotter said.

Jump starting programs takes time, however, and the College might not see the benefits of these new degrees for years. The Master of Business Administration, which launched in 2020, currently only has 42 students.

The School of Education, which houses two-thirds of current graduate and certificate students, has had years of investment. Education programs have existed at the College for decades, allowing the College to focus on providing further education for future teachers and school administrators.

The counselor education program in the School of Education is the largest graduate program at the College. Two of its degrees have the most students of any graduate or certificate program. The Master of Arts in counselor education has been around since 1991, allowing it to have a strong reputation throughout the region to attract prospective students.

New degrees and certificates would not have the same reputation as existing programs, forcing the College to make long-term strategic decisions about new degrees. They will have to consider what future job markets will look like and the types of education that will be needed.

“We know what our strengths are,” McCotter said. “So we need to go out there with our strengths forward and figure out how we can meet some of the needs and also expand our audiences. We’re not trying to just do what everybody else is doing. We’re trying to think of where are the needs and then how can we go to those needs instead of just waiting for the needs to come to us.”

On top of new degrees, the College is exploring programs that give professionals credentials related to their jobs. These programs would not award students degrees or certificates, but would simply allow them to say they learned about a topic.

With the College looking to provide greater focus to post-bachelors programs, it is unclear how the make-up of the institution will look in the coming years.

“We know what we’re proud of,” Mayger said. “We know what we’re good at and now is not the time for us to figure out something else that will take us 15 years to get good at. Now is the time for us to just double down on what we’re good at and do more of it well.”

March 1, 2024 The Signal page 3
The number of graduate and certificate students at the College has been relatively stable for the past 10 academic years following a decline in years prior. Data was collected from the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education. Graph by Mike Sherr Education graduate and certificate programs make up a vast majority of the graduate students at the College. The yellow sliver represents the single student in the Professional and UX/UI Writing Certificate program. Graph by Mike Sherr


From teacher to leader: Suzanne McCotter’s journey to provost

Although Suzanne McCotter may still be adjusting to her role leading all academic aspects of the College, the newly-appointed interim provost and vice president for academic affairs is no stranger to the classroom.

McCotter’s journey in education stems back to her years as a teacher in Edison and Rahway, where she taught nearly every grade. In 1999, she embarked on her career in higher education, — which has spanned over 25 years — after landing her first full-time faculty position at Millersville University in Pennsylvania.

While serving as chair of the Department of Educational Foundations at Millersville, McCotter, a New Jersey native, found herself longing to return to her home state. She subsequently accepted an offer at Montclair State University,

where she spent eleven years serving in various capacities, from a faculty position to an associate dean for academic affairs stint within the College of Education and Human Services.

McCotter said she had no intention of leaving Montclair, but when her son’s college search led him to TCNJ, they both instantly “fell in love” with the institution.

“I kept looking at the School of Education and thinking, ‘What a great place,’” McCotter said. “So then I got home and about a week later, the ad for a dean of the School of Education at TCNJ came up, so I ended up throwing my hat in the ring.”

After McCotter landed the job and her son received an acceptance to study philosophy, they both began their journeys at the College in 2017.

“I have always been a person that says ‘yes’ to new opportunities,” she said.

McCotter served a five-year tenure

as dean of the School of Education, where she fiercely advocated to create a statewide impact on teacher education, before transitioning into the role of dean of Graduate and Continuing Education last year. During her year-long term, McCotter created a team to strengthen graduate education and established partnerships with numerous school districts and health organizations, in an effort to “bring what TCNJ is so good at out to the rest of the world.”

“I thought I’d be there for a while, but then when Provost Osborne left and this position came open, I thought ‘this is the logical next step for me, and I don’t know if I’m ready for it, but if I don’t take it now, then I might miss my opportunity,’” McCotter said.

As part of her new role, McCotter heads the College’s academic affairs department, which oversees classes, curriculum, faculty and schools, among other academic components.

“I think the thing that was most important to me is that the group of deans who are working on this campus are a group of really talented, innovative, exciting individuals,” she said. “What they were looking for was somebody who could harness all that creativity and figure out ways to bring it together.”

As a vice president, McCotter also serves as one of nine members of the president’s cabinet, which is an advisory group that meets weekly to provide executive leadership for the College’s academic and administrative areas.

“It was my opportunity to have a seat at that table and contribute to the cabinet in a different way, and elevate the voices of my dean colleagues by bringing them to that table through me,” she said.

Since starting her tenure on Feb.

5, one of McCotter’s main objectives has been supporting Interim President Bernstein on the implementation of the LIONS initiative, which involves a number of “working groups” dedicated to developing projects aimed at enhancing various divisions of the College.

“We’re facing a time when we have to make some really important decisions about the future of TCNJ and what it’s going to look like,” McCotter said. “I think that there’s a perception that all of those initiatives mean that we’re going to have to start saying no to a lot of the things that we do. My approach is that this is an opportunity for us to figure out what we want to say ‘yes’ to for the next 10 or 20 years.”

She added, “It doesn’t mean we’re going to stop doing the things that make us great. It may mean that we expand them in some different ways, but it’s our chance to really be creative. Each generation changes traditions a little bit to make them more meaningful, and this is our opportunity to do that. I’m so excited to lead that effort.”

While McCotter’s new position has entailed “so much more” than she anticipated and often involves working long hours, the interim provost’s “exciting” endeavors keep her energized.

“I’ve been working so much, but I’m not tired because it’s such exciting work,” she said. “Creativity and innovation are very exciting for me, and I think we are perfectly poised to be creative and innovative right now.”

McCotter is unsure what her next steps will be after her 18-month term comes to an end in August 2025, but she is certain she will continue saying “yes” to exciting opportunities, and encourages others to do the same.

Alumni Adventures: Marathon runner Mark Neilan’s hundred-mile races

For many, running is something that is detested, disliked or even feared. However, for alumnus Mark Neilan, running is a part of his daily life.

Neilan, owner of Excel Fitness Center in Bernardsville, New Jersey, is married with two children and has an exceptional background in physical therapy and personal training, with both a doctorate and master’s, as well as a physical therapy certification.

For himself, however, Neilan dedicates much of his free time to running, beginning during his time here at the College. He started with 5k races and moved into races of 100 miles. Neilan shares what he thinks is most important for health.

“I really try to exercise every day,” said Neilan. “I believe that movement and sleep are the best forms of medicine. By doing something every day, I feel prepared for most physical challenges.

When specifically training for the distances of 100 miles, Neilan spends a lot of time on his feet, running 70 miles a week and weight lifting three times a day for half an hour each time.

Another common issue that runners often face is what to think about while running. For Neilan, that includes what he needs to keep going during the race, or what he calls “system checks.”

“During 100 mile races, I would like to tell you that I am thinking and trying to solve world problems or having deep thoughts,” Neilan said, “but mainly it is just a constant ‘systems check.’ How

is my pace? What is my breathing like? How does my body feel from my ankles on up…?”

Neilan also keeps his family in mind while running these impressive races.

“I do think about my wife and kids at moments during the race,” Neilan said. “My wife, Kristi, is the one who is always my crew chief and is at the aide stations. I think about her being at the next aide station and that I need to get there or else I am just wasting her time. She is at this race for me. She is here to support me. I can not let her down.”

For Neilan, being able to show his kids that the impossible is possible also keeps him going during these longer distances.

“I think about my son and daughter and how I need to cross that finish line to continue to show them that we are all capable of doing hard things,” said Neilan. “That you just have to go all in, believe to your core that you can do it, do not negotiate with yourself or allow yourself to make an excuse. Focus on the goal and get there.”

With these motivational thoughts in mind, combined with his dedication and training, Neilan has placed first many times, as well as a number of second and top five placements. With 18 marathons, seven 100 mile races, and a number of elevation and hill races with impressive times for all, Mark continues to inspire and set a standard for long distance runners, as well as his family.

“To run long distances, you have to believe in yourself,” Neilan said. “You have to want it in your heart. Picturing yourself crossing the finish line has to



If you have any doubt when you are at the start line, you are making the distance harder than it already is.”

“You must make yourself mentally tough before the start line. You need to put your time in before you get there.

Photo courtesy of tcnj.edu McCotter began her term as provost on Feb. 5. out of pores. There is no special sauce. Time and a very consistent effort is the most effective strategy,” he added. While running can be difficult and even scary, by taking a look at someone like Neilan, the impossible becomes possible. Neilan running “Hell on a Hill.” Photo courtesy of Mark Neilan

Student Government introduces Mental Health Mondays

Two students from Student Government are giving back to the College community with a new initiative called Mental Health Mondays, where they craft TCNJ-themed positivity bracelets to hand out to students.

Aria Chalileh, vice president of student services and political science major, and Kate Zydor, student government mental health chair and freshman psychology major are the co-founders of Mental Health Mondays.

Chalileh and Zydor have been occupying space in the Library Café, but they hope to acquire their own table soon and even expand to other areas of high student traffic like the Brower Student Center.

According to Chalileh, positivity bracelets were the theme for both Mondays so far. The two students crafted 10-15 bracelets the first week and decided to stick with this idea moving forward after witnessing a great turnout and positive reactions from recipients.

“When receiving the bracelet, I really felt like I was a part of the TCNJ community, not only that but something bigger, something that supports and cares about the students in this community,” said Maddie Weir, sophomore psychology major.

The two students are excited about implementing new ideas into Mental Health Mondays in the future and are also open to student feedback and suggestions.

Chalileh ran Finals Fest last semester, which is an event aimed at easing student stress and spreading mental health awareness during finals week. She hopes to incorporate self-care goodie bags and vision boards into Mental Health Mondays

because mental health is important all semester long, not just during finals.

The two students aim to grow their team so they can maximize the number of bracelets made and also hope to receive funding from the school in order to bring their other ideas to life.

According to Chalileh, their goal is to leave a symbolic impact on students. They aspire to see everyone wearing a positivity bracelet to remind themselves that they are not alone in their mental health struggles.

“One of my friends texted me during an interview, and sent me a picture of the bracelet they were wearing for good luck,” Chalileh said.

Mental Health Mondays is very special to both students, as they are passionate about mental health and want everyone on campus to feel seen.

“You have to remind yourself daily that you are human,” Chalileh said. “You will make mistakes but you are not a reflection of your mistakes.”

The two wish to emphasize that students at the College are never alone because there is a whole community of students going through similar struggles who can support each other.

“If someone feels like they don’t have people to support them, we will be those people for them,” Chalileh said.

Counseling and Prevention Services is a free student counseling service where the College provides individual and group sessions for students. Individual counseling consists of hour-long sessions. CAPS also provides referrals to students who wish to continue therapy after this period.

Unlike individual sessions, there is no limit to the number of group sessions students can attend. This semester, there are over 15 workshop groups offered to

students, each with a unique topic. People feeling alone can benefit from these community building opportunities.

According to Chalileh, the College also provides two apps for students: Talk Campus and UWill.

Talk Campus is an online platform that allows students to communicate with other students from different college campuses by anonymously posting about what they are going through.

This app is helpful for students who are not interested in traditional therapy and prefer to talk with people in their age range who might be able to relate. Moderators are in charge of deleting any dangerous or harmful messages.

UWill is another online therapy service tool the College works with that enables students to match with an immediate counselor in times of need.

How TCNJ students can manage their stress

It is no secret that college brings on lots of stress and anxiety. Whether that comes from the workload, extracurriculars or exams, stress is bound to occur. Adapting to a new environment and course load can be difficult and raise stress levels as the spring semester starts to kick up. However, students at the College have found ways to manage stress in order to better thrive throughout their college experience.

The first way that many students relieve stress is to simply decompress. Whether that be with a show, music or a podcast, dedicating a small portion of the day towards something fun and unrelated to academics allows for the mind to shift off all of the pending due dates and approaching exams.

“Listening to music helps me release stress,” said Katie Rogina, a freshman psychology major, “and it alleviates some of the pressure from the constant school work we have to do.”

Another thing several students have found helpful is to dedicate time to physical hobbies. Joining a sports team or club, going to the gym, doing yoga or running all fall under this healthy and helpful category. Moving your body, getting your blood flowing and putting your mind elsewhere can all drop those high stress levels and provide a physical benefit to one’s health.

Similarly, finding time in one’s busy schedule for some self care practices has also been effective for students on campus. Finding time for meditation, a face mask, or even a nap can help calm the mind and break

up that never-ending stress. Putting yourself and your mind above all else can be difficult, but finding even a few minutes during the day for this can be extremely beneficial.

According to Mercy Health Blog, hobbies provide us with a break from our daily routine. That break gives our mind something else to focus on rather than all of the things that may be piling up. Finding and participating in hobbies even after a stressful day has been proven to help alleviate the stress, even if it is momentary.

Joining clubs and activities offered by the College and taking advantage of the many resources available can help student stress levels. Taking part in a club can distract the mind and provide a fun and stimulating environment to be in.

The College also offers counseling services that may be useful to students looking for better ways to manage

their stress. By reaching out to or attending any of the services offered by CAPS, new and better coping strategies can be obtained. Therapy and counseling are something that anyone and everyone may benefit from, and having this service offered on campus is a key resource for those who need it.

Robbin Loonan, CAPS therapist and coordinator of CAPS peer education, states,

“The CAPS Peer Educators create, organize, and implement programs on campus to educate students about healthy coping strategies and self-care as well engage students in efforts to reduce mental health stigma.”

College is a stressful time in life. While that stress may seem neverending and unavoidable, finding what works for you to cope and manage is a key factor in collegiate success and personal well-being.

“It definitely seems like TCNJ cares about student mental health, however, most students aren’t aware of the resources available to them,” Weir said. “I think they could improve mental health initiatives and programs by advertising more online and on campus.

Chalileh and Zydor are both excited to continue to grow this event for the rest of the semester and leave a lasting impression on students.

“I think Mental Health Mondays is important to TCNJ because it lets students know they aren’t alone if they’re going through a rough time,” Weir said. “People don’t realize how important initiatives like this are.”

Editor’s note: Kate Zydor is also The Signal’s opinions editor. She was not involved in this article, nor was she interviewed or consulted on its content.

March 1, 2024 The Signal page 5
Photo by Alexa Giacoio Aria Chalileh and Kate Zydor are the co-founders of Mental Health Mondays. Students can be under large amounts of stress throughout the semester.
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Podcasts are insightful yet often perpetuate toxic sterotypes and agendas

Podcast culture is taking the internet by storm. From celebrities to ordinary people with a microphone, it seems as though everyone is creating podcast channels and sharing their opinions with the world.

Many different genres of podcasts touch on relationships, lifestyle choices, affirmations, inspiration, crime and so many more topics that can cater to whatever you want or need to hear at the moment.

Though many podcasts are harmless and can offer insightful

life advice, many others feed into negative or harmful stereotypes about different groups of people. Podcasts like “Emergency Meeting” and “The Pregame Live Show” feed into the idea of stereotypical gender roles. Their hosts believe that the genders should stay rigid in their boxes and that anything outside of the binary is a sign of a failing society. Such podcasts have fostered unfavorable fan bases and negatively influenced groups of young people.

The internet is a very influential place — hence why we have influencers — that can inspire the good and bad in people. Podcasts are public forums

that allow for discussion, whether it be positive or negative, and they can inspire or incite groups of people. They have demonstrated the power of words.

With this, podcasts can harmfully be used to push out any agenda that a person may have. “The Ben Shapiro Show” pushes out damaging rhetoric regarding race relations and politics in America. Anyone with an opinion can start a podcast and gain traction which is not always a good thing.

This is not to say that all podcasts are harmful, as I listen to many different ones that correspond to what I’m going through or to get general life advice. However, it seems as though the negative ones that instill harmful mindsets into young people have gained the most popularity.

Podcasts like “Whatever” and “Fresh and Fit” are two perfect examples of this platform being used for bad. Both of these podcasts spend a lot of time belittling women and pushing the idea of the “alpha man.” They persuade young boys to believe that since they’re men, they have automatic authority over a woman’s autonomy.

Podcasts like “The Kevin Samuels Show” will even bring women on and tell them they’re not “high-value women” and communicate to their audience their idea of the perfect woman. This podcast has gone as far as to say that any woman who doesn’t meet their misogynistic criteria should be treated poorly.

On the flip side, there are female-led

podcasts where women hide behind the persona of a “life coach,” but instead of encouraging women, they tell them everything they’re doing wrong and how to properly cater to a man’s ego. This can affect a young girl’s self-esteem and how she views herself, especially in her romantic relationships.

Podcasts that are made specifically for the betterment of your well-being are the bright side of this dilemma.

“Happier with Gretchen Rubin” and “Affirmations for Black Girls” lift your spirits, give you advice on how to work on your routine and help improve your mindset.

You also have podcasts that act as relationship guides and give dating tips, such as “We met at Acme” and “Why won’t you date me?” These can direct singles and couples towards healthier relationship patterns in general.

General entertainment podcasts like “Suburb Talks” and “Bottoms Up With Fannita” can also be positive, as they cover a wide range of topics and interview influencers and celebrities for advice or opinions on mainstream topics.

Though podcasts can be a tricky platform, there is such a wide variety of them that you can find something that suits you. The toxic ones can be easily avoided; you just have to realize that the people talking are just people with opinions, and you can formulate some of your own. Podcasts are one of the better forms of entertainment. You just have to find the right one!

Great halftime shows have three key elements that make them stand out

In recent years, the Super Bowl halftime show has become one of the last pillars of a unified public. Events that once captured a sense of mystique that people so desperately crave have now faded with the access social media provides.

Awards and fashion shows are not as interesting to people as they used to be, especially since they can be comfortably viewed at a later date. Because the Super Bowl halftime show has remained a staple, annual event, it guarantees a near-nationwide audience.

There have been a plethora of iconic and memorable performances that have taken place on that fabled stage. Acts performed by Michael Jackson and Prince come to mind when thinking about the sheer performance

power previously displayed within that brief intermission.

The halftime show has rightfully gained a legacy as being a huge honor for the artist chosen. It’s a moment to showcase their talents to the whole country. As far as testaments to one’s artistic ability go, successfully swaying the audience at the Super Bowl is perhaps the pinnacle.

That is why the task is regarded as both rewarding and treacherous. Any mistake made—take Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction in 2004, for example—is essentially witnessed by the entire country.

A successful halftime show is a complicated formula of varying factors. Given how many different types of artists there are, between genre and performance styles, it seems reasonable to assume there is no clear way to do it.

Despite being implemented for

the explicit purpose of maintaining viewership during the break, many have failed to successfully pull off what the halftime show tries to be. Capturing interest is hard, especially when carnal desires such as bathroom breaks and snack refills are difficult to compete with.

I’d argue, however, that despite the interchangeable aspects of the various halftime shows, all the truly iconic ones have three key factors in common—factors that ensure that a performance will be successful, or in other words, memorable.

The first of these is the hits required to even be considered in the first place. Take Rihanna’s 2023 halftime show, for example. Even before her show aired, people were accurately predicting what songs she would sing, simply because of how many known hits she had.

Since the show is being aired to almost all of America, including those not intimately familiar with one’s discography, an artist must have enough hits to keep the viewer engaged. They need to have people pointing at their TV, saying “Oh, I know that song,” and singing along to lyrics they seem to know instinctively.

Without the proper amount of recognizable hits, viewers either stop watching or only engage with the performance from a removed perspective. Both are fatal to the performance’s legacy, as not being memorable achieves the same effect as an outright poor performance.

If people aren’t talking about it the next day, at work or school, then an artist simply didn’t succeed.

The next key factor is one’s celebrity status as an artist. Having notoriety is crucial, as an artist needs

people to know who they are long before they get on the stage. People should recognize their name, since otherwise, the willingness to spend halftime watching the performance dwindles significantly.

People aren’t going to pay attention if they barely know who’s performing. Most of the excitement around the show is created in the weeks leading up to the day. If people don’t know a celebrity well enough to talk about them beforehand, then effectively all hype is killed.

The last factor of a successful halftime show is the stage presence that can be wielded by the performer. A perfect example of a lack of such presence was exemplified in Coldplay’s 2016 halftime show.

It is not uncommon for the leading act to outsource some of the showmanship labor by having guests during their performance. Coldplay brought out both Beyoncé and Bruno Mars during their set, and the official video of their performances has millions more views than Coldplay’s.

Through no fault of their own, Coldplay simply wasn’t engaging onscreen. At least, not in comparison to Beyoncé and Bruno Mars. Many struggle to even recall that it was their show to begin with, as they were so completely overshadowed by their guests.

There is nothing more electrifying than a performer at the peak of their game, whether it be an athlete or a pop star. So despite how difficult it is for one performer to maintain all three of those key factors, as one of the few remaining cultural events left, one can only hope that the halftime show continues to produce legendary performances.

The Super Bowl halftime show is a near-mythological pop-culture event. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Anyone with an opinion can start a podcast and gain traction. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Civility is dead — Just check the comments section

All you have to do is go on TikTok or Instagram for two minutes to realize that the internet is where you can find both the funniest and rudest, and I venture to say the vilest humans on the planet. Want to share photos of your cute baby? How about your amazing new make-up routine or a wholesome video of you and your significant other in the hopes of making people smile?

Well, in today’s society, there is a widely held belief that if people choose to post themselves on social media, they are deserving of any criticism that results from them having an online presence, even an assault on their very existence. It has become commonplace to attack people through social platforms based on qualities that can be construed as “irritating.”

down others as entertainment.

While it may be true that influencers and public figures invite the opinions of others by holding a platform, users of apps like TikTok and Instagram have turned to tearing others down as entertainment. It is baffling that grown adults and a population of youth, educated on the dangers of cyberbullying, have adopted the mentality that what you say online does not define you as a person.

As you’re scrolling on social media, check the comments section of any video or picture posted by someone with a large following. There will undoubtedly be comments unrelated to the content of the post itself, spewing vile messages about the person’s appearance, lifestyle and even their family members.

Take Taylor Swift as an example. I recognize that this is an unpopular opinion, but I am not a fan of Taylor Swift’s music, nor do I have an interest in her day-to-day life. However,

Book banning is ridiculous

A picture book about a father helping his daughter style her hair could never be banned, right? It can if the father and daughter in question are Black.

In the children’s picture book, “Hair Love,” by Matthew A. Cherry, a little girl struggles to style her natural curly hair. Her dad realizes what his daughter is experiencing and despite his doubts about his abilities, he immediately steps in to give his child a hand.

After some trial and error, and some help from a video, the pair manages to get the girl’s hair into a row of three cute buns on top of her head. The story concludes with the girl’s mother coming home and smiling at the results. The ending reveals how hairstyles can be a point of beauty, pride and connection for Black girls and women.

Parents and politicians have been pushing to have this book banned from schools. And no, I’m not leaving anything out in my summary of this story. There’s no violence, politics or call to action. Just a father who works to style his daughter’s hair as she struggles. Yet, this book has been removed from classrooms and libraries, especially in areas that reject the inclusion of Critical Race Theory in schools.

To briefly summarize Critical Race Theory, it encompasses the idea that Western society inherently holds racial bias, as it was created by and for white people at the expense of people of color. Some parents and politicians have rejected the inclusion of Critical Race Theory in public schools for fear of creating “white guilt” in privileged children or reducing patriotism by bringing to light the deeply rooted flaws

why would my distaste for her music translate into my hatred for her as a human being? When I come across posts from or about her on social media, I simply keep scrolling because she is not a celebrity that piques my interest.

Contrary to this, some people relentlessly attack her online for a multitude of reasons, ranging from her dating history to the dislike of her most recent album. It has gone so far that now, Swift has limited the comments on her Instagram posts likely to avoid this bullying.

It’s not just teenagers who are leaving these hateful comments, but also middle-aged individuals with children, corporate jobs and a multitude of responsibilities. Why are these people wasting their valuable time using social media to destroy another person’s sense of self?

The most ironic thing in all of this is that celebrities like Taylor Swift have no idea who these people are that comment on their posts. Just as she doesn’t know them, how could they possibly know what she is actually like as a person behind closed doors? At the end of the day, influencers and public figures are human beings who feel the same emotions as everyone else.

I don’t believe that there is a clearcut explanation for this phenomenon. Although it’s cliché, many of these individuals are unhappy with their lives to the point that they use the comments section as a form of release for their pentup anger. Under these circumstances, this behavior is not justified but easily explained.

But what about those who are content with their lives and still engage in these harmful practices? When confronted with another person face-to-face, a

majority of people will think twice before inflicting their negative feelings upon a perceived or real adversary to avoid seeing their reaction. On social media, this isn’t a concern. Harm can be done to others with a click of a button, and you never have to see the person’s reaction on the receiving end.

With social media and our online footprints becoming bigger parts of our lives, how we “live” in these arenas will no doubt define us as a human race. There is no question as to why depression and anxiety are more prevalent than ever –especially in young people. The desire to fit in online coupled with the threat of negative comments and cyberbullying makes every post a major life decision.

The “average” person on social media is not solely to blame for this culture shift. Politicians are publically engaging in this behavior every day. It is impossible to advocate for a cause without being ruthlessly attacked for whatever beliefs you hold. No longer can we have a dialogue about an issue.

The most important thing for people to remember when engaging on social media is that they must maintain the standard of civility that they hold themselves to in the real world. Only then can progress be achieved in eliminating this cruelty. Before we book another motivational speaker to come to a high school and lecture kids on the dangers of cyberbullying, we must examine the example that we as educated adults are setting for the next generation.

When we’re tempted to laugh or make a joke out of the hate that another human being is experiencing, we must remember that it’s a proven fact that kids mimic what they see. On this issue, it is no longer ok to say, “Do as we say, not as we do.” Let’s do better.

The dystopian reality of Austin Mc Broom

of the United States.

Regardless of where you stand on that issue, it’s clear that the Critical Race Theory controversy has gotten out of hand when “protecting white children” apparently includes covering up the fact that Black people exist.

In a thinly veiled disguise of protecting white children, book-banning advocates have begun removing any and all diverse books from school library shelves. In a hysteria as old as the country itself, groups are trying to preserve America’s whiteness at the expense of children from various backgrounds who deserve to learn about themselves and others.

Banning books that are meant to be relatable and uplifting to Black girls sends a clear and disturbing message that they are not welcome in their own schools. It also causes non-Black students to learn and perpetuate this prejudice.

The fuss these “book banners” are making over a picture book about a girl and her hair would be hilarious if the consequences weren’t so grim. Books are children’s windows and mirrors, and without this book, students are losing valuable insight into common cultural experiences.

If this isn’t proof that the recent surge in book banning is rooted in prejudice, I don’t know what is. Keeping children in a bubble doesn’t protect them; in fact, it actively harms the innocent children they are being “protected” from. What does help children is teaching them that there are people in the world who are different from them and that we can all coexist peacefully.

Read more on our website!

Family vlogging, the idea of filming one’s children to upload on social media to garner views and fame, is a rather new concept that has only gained popularity in the past 15 years. It has become a highly debated and controversial topic with many critics arguing that it is exploitative for parents to film their children for mass amounts of people to consume.

Some families become so famous for vlogging that their children become more like cash cows instead of tiny humans with sentience who are affected by their parent’s actions. This cannot be more true for the ACE Family.

The ACE Family is an acronym for the McBroom family, consisting of Austin McBroom, his wife Catherine, their eldest daughter and two other young children. Over the years, the ACE Family has been embroiled in controversy, almost all of which has been caused by Austin McBroom.

From driving his jet ski in his pool, causing a massive spillover into his neighbor’s

property, to the scam festival called ACE Fest, to Austin’s mediocre boxing career, this man has created massive controversy for his family for years.

It came as no surprise when his wife, now going by Catherine Paiz, announced that the two were going their separate ways and divorcing. Since that announcement, all over social media, videos of Austin McBroom have been going viral, and all for the wrong reasons.

Snapchat is a social media platform that allows users to communicate through pictures and chats, with a feature allowing them to post to their “story,” where everyone who follows can see what has been posted for 24 hours. As Snapchat has grown as a media corporation, they have started the Snap Stars program, contracting social media influencers to post on their stories a certain amount per day to receive ad revenue in exchange. One of these people contracted by Snapchat is none other than Austin McBroom, who has posted dozens of times every day amid his divorce. Austin’s stories have been, for lack of better words, chaotic and mortifying.

Read more on our website!

March 1, 2024 The Signal page 7
Photo courtesy of Flickr Social media users have turned to tearing For Austin McBroom to preserve his livelihood, he must post on Snapchat. Photo courtesy of Flickr

Mental health issues among college students are not a new phenomenon

Over the past decade, declining mental health among college students has become a hot-button issue, but one that has no clear solution. There are many explanations for this phenomenon that we’re seeing among today’s youth ranging from social media to academic pressure to the never-ending stream of domestic and global conflicts. Whether we care to admit it or not, our minds are often fragile and susceptible to external influences.

With the rise of social media has come the pressure to fit in and achieve a standard of perfection that is entirely unattainable. As

we mindlessly scroll through other people’s feeds, we convince ourselves that we don’t look good enough or have enough friends, our lives are boring and we’re missing out on fun experiences. Alongside this, the obligation we feel to make ourselves accessible to others 24/7 is mentally draining and leaves us with no time to reset and recharge.

On top of micro-managing our social lives, we as students must also adhere to our academic responsibilities. There are only so many hours in the day and we spend a large portion of them in classes or doing assignments, and I’m not even accounting for our extracurriculars.

Now, we take all this pressure and responsibility and add feelings

of worry stemming from our world’s ever-changing and rocky state. In the past, there wasn’t around-theclock news coverage that constantly details tragedy after tragedy like there is now. It’s no wonder that college students are facing high levels of anxiety and depression.

The current state of college student’s mental health has reached a boiling point and now can be considered a crisis. But, despite the impact of these factors on the wellbeing of college students, there is a notion that these issues were virtually nonexistent before our time. This is simply not the case. It has always existed; however, our generation is more in tune with the importance of mental health than those of the past.

Each generation has faced its own set of struggles, many of which are similar to our own. What makes past college students’ experiences different is the acknowledgment, or lack thereof, of their mental health challenges.

At the College, we have gotten so used to having resources like CAPS that we fail to realize that there was a time when such resources were deemed unnecessary. Based on conversations I’ve had with family members and other adults, students of the past were expected to push through times of mental distress and put their feelings on the backburner to focus on their academic and social priorities. In a sense, these feelings of anxiety and depression were seen as simply just a part of the college

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Aside from this, a mentality upheld by many members of past generations is that reaching out for mental health aid renders a person weak. This is not to say that these individuals are insensitive. They just grew up in a culture that viewed mental health challenges as something to be ashamed of.

As students move from high school to college, they jump from a relatively low-stakes environment to one that is associated with a great deal of responsibility and is designed to prepare them for the rest of their lives. Although this transition may look different for us as members of Gen Z, it is nonetheless a transition that all students have experienced.

Poor mental health among college students is not a new societal problem; we are just more aware of its true nature and prevalence. By removing the stigma surrounding mental health and encouraging young people to seek help, we as a generation are making impactful strides toward normalizing a culture that allows people who are struggling to speak freely about their experiences.

Despite this, the acknowledgement and acceptance of this issue is great, but it’s not enough. The solution to this problem is multifaceted and must be tackled by a wide range of perspectives. It stands to reason that new, innovative solutions must be formulated and implemented to combat these challenges that impact countless students.

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An article in the Feb. 16 issue stated that the School of Education was the only school to offer menstrual products. The School of Engineering provides menstrual products in Armstrong Hall as well.

The Signal is published bi-weekly during the academic year and not financed by the Student Activity Fund but solely by advertisement revenue. Any student may submit articles to The Signal. Publication of submitted articles is at the discretion of the editors. All materials submitted become the sole property of The Signal.

The Letters section is an open forum for opinions. Submissions that announce events or advertise in any way will not be printed.

The Signal willingly corrects mistakes. If you think we have made a mistake, contact us signal@tcnj.edu.

Correction Feb. 19: A previous version of this article stated that the School of Education was the only school to offer menstrual products. The School of Engineering provides menstrual products in Armstrong Hall as well.

March 1, 2024 The Signal page 8 Editorials
Photo by Shane Gillespie Our generation is helping to remove the stigma surrounding mental health.

Weekly News Word Play Press Puzzle


2. A&E: genre of One Day

5. Sports: number of records beaten in men’s swimming NJAC Championship

8. N&W: animal from which someone got the bubonic plague

10. A&E: band that played at Underground

11. N&W: company that will label AI-generated images

14. A&E: artist of “Texas Hold ‘Em”

16. News: TCNJ is a top producer of these

17. Opinion: the number of factors that make a great Halftime show

18. A&E: protagonist in Upgraded 20. Sports: school TCNJ men’s basketball beat to advance to the NJAC Championship


1. A&E: Youtuber who was sentenced to prison

3. Features: positivity bracelets are handed out this day of the week

4. Features: number of marathons Mark Neilan has run

6. Features: new interim provost

7. Opinion: what should apply to everyone

9. Opinion: what is dead in the comments section

12. N&W: state that ruled embryos are children

13. A&E: the College’s K-Pop dance team

15. N&W: team that won the 2024 Super Bowl

19. Sports: TCNJ women’s basketball competed against ____ in NJAC Championship


Kansas City mourns as America reckons with juvenile gun violence

The homecoming celebration of a winning team after any major sporting event is reason for great pride and national attention, giving both fans and players an opportunity to revel in their victory after a season’s worth of trials and tests of faith. To see places of such joy marred, with the Super Bowl Parade of the reigning Kansas City Chiefs descending into bloodshed on Feb. 14, is a reminder of the ubiquity of the issue of gun violence in America.

According to the New York

Times, the celebration proceeded with a tour through Kansas City’s downtown and culminated in a rally by Union Station, a major transportation hub for the city. Shots were fired by the west side of the station soon after the rally’s conclusion, inciting immediate chaos within the crowd of thousands who had gathered for the day’s events. According to NYT, many attendees reported mistaking the gunshots for fireworks, and in the tumult that erupted during the violence, survivors were shaken by the threat of crowd crush and trampling.

Chief Stacy Graves of the

Kansas City Police stated on Feb. 15 that “there was no nexus to terrorism or homegrown violent extremism.”

Authorities pursued the suspects on foot immediately after shots were fired, with two teenagers arrested and charged on Feb. 16. According to ABC News, the shootings left one dead and 22 injured, among the wounded being nine children. Graves reported the victims ranging in age from 8 to 47, with half being under 16 years old. The Children’s Mercy Hospital treated 11 children between ages 6 and 15, none of whom were in critical condition.

43-year-old Elizabeth Galvan, a DJ and local radio host, was killed in the shootings. Her friend Lisa Lopez said in a statement to the Kansas City Star, “She was the life of the party… Our Hispanic community lost a beautiful, wonderful person.”

The two teenage suspects have not yet been publicly identified, and are being held in custody as they await trial. Steps are being taken to have them tried as adults, although the judicial process could take weeks to be resolved. According to the NYT, Missouri law dictates that most juveniles in Missouri are to be released to their parents or guardians after being detained, unless charged with serious crimes such as handling a weapon. Prosecutors must work with a juvenile officer rather than filing charges

directly to the court.

There has been no evidence that the shooting was the product of a purposeful attack on the parade. It is believed that the shooting arose out of a dispute between the two juveniles, which eventually escalated into armed violence. It is the unfortunate repetition of a pattern that has become all too common in Kansas City, which has one of the highest murder rates in the nation.

The NYT reports that 182 people were killed last year, with many of the deaths being linked back to personal disputes between individuals that turned violent.

The incident in Kansas City appears to be a symptom of a larger epidemic of gun violence amongst the youth of America. The frequency of shootings involving a person younger than 18 killing another child has been rising over time, and gun violence in 2020 became the leading cause of death for children and teenagers, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

As Kansas City mourns, America has added yet another tally to its count of mass shootings for this year. While the aftermath of this latest tragedy will continue to play out, citizens and officials alike are still trying to make sense of the forces that have underwritten it, in an effort to prevent them from striking again.

Meta will start to label AI-generated images on Facebook, Instagram

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and Threads, announced on Feb. 6 that AIgenerated images will be labeled to indicate they were created with AI tools. These labels will appear in all languages supported by each app within the coming months, allowing users to sort between what is real and what is not.

The decision was made under growing pressure from tech companies — both those that build AI software and those that host its outputs — to address the potential risks of AI, from election misinformation to nonconsensual fake nudes of celebrities. Deepfakes, artificial images or videos of fake events, are of increasing concern to both regulators and experts alike, especially with upcoming elections around the world. These experts have warned that such synthetic media could be used to hinder voters’ ability to make informed decisions by manipulating information, according to NPR.

Meta and other companies in their industry have been working to develop common standards for identifying AI-generated content. This was also partly a result of an executive order that President Joe Biden signed in October, pushing

for digital watermarking and labeling of AI-generated content, according to AP News.

Meta’s labeling system for AIgenerated images includes putting visible markers on the images and both invisible watermarks and metadata embedded within the file to help other platforms identify them. Once companies like Google, Microsoft, OpenAI, Adobe, Midjourney and Shutterstock implement these markers, Meta’s labeling system will then be applied to their content as well.

Photorealistic images created with Meta’s AI model are already labeled “Imagined with AI.”

However, other image generators, including open-source models, may never incorporate these kinds of markers.

Recognizing this challenge, Meta said that it is developing tools that can automatically detect AIgenerated content, even without embedded watermarks or metadata.

While Meta’s labeling system currently focuses on static photos, due to the ongoing development of tools to identify AI-generated audio and video, Meta will start requiring users to disclose when they post a realistic, digitally created or altered audio or video. Failure to do so may penalize accounts.

“If we determine that digitally created or altered image, video

or audio content creates a particularly high risk of materially deceiving the public on a matter of importance, we may add a more prominent label if appropriate, so people have more information and context,” said Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Meta, in a blog post.

This expands on Meta’s political ad policy, introduced in November, which requires political advertisers around the world to disclose if they digitally generated or altered images, videos or audio with thirdparty AI software to depict people and events.

Last fall, Google said that AI labels were coming to YouTube and its other platforms. Creators must disclose when they post realistic AI-generated content, alerting viewers when watching a

video made with AI. YouTube will also allow people to request videos to be removed from the site if they use AI to simulate an identifiable person, including their face or voice, under its privacy tools. Along with YouTube, TikTok said it would start testing automatically applying labels to content it detects was created or edited with AI.

“As the difference between human and synthetic content gets blurred, people want to know where the boundary lies,” said Clegg. “People are often coming across AI-generated content for the first time and our users have told us they appreciate transparency around this new technology. So it’s important that we help people know when photorealistic content they’re seeing has been created using AI.”

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons The Super Bowl Parade of the reigning Kansas City Chiefs descended into bloodshed. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Meta announced that AI-generated images will be labeled on their products.

You’ve got to be kitten me: Oregon resident gets black plague from their cat

An Oregon resident got diagnosed with the bubonic plague last week, sparking concern and worry from officials. How did they

get it? Their pet cat.

According to the New York Times, no other cases have been reported. Emily Horton, a public health program manager in Oregon, told the New York Times that the human patient is in recovery but

the cat died from the plague.

Dr. Erin Phipps, New Mexico’s state public health veterinarian, spoke on how the plague was never eradicated.

“A lot of people are not aware that plague is endemic in parts of the U.S.,” Phipps said, according to the New York Times. “It’s not a disease of the past.”

Human cases are treatable when the plague is caught early. People can be infected through flea bites from infected rodents, as well as infected animals in general. The bubonic plague is present when people develop swollen lymph nodes, fever, chills and headache. Septicemic plague causing bloodstream infections and pneumonic plague causing lung infections can develop as well.

The plague is most common in rural areas, especially in the Western United States. Common states include Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Oregon.

According to AP News, the plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Plague bacteria can be killed by sunlight and drying. The most dangerous is pneumonic plague, which is the only form of plague that can be spread respiratorily.

In the United States, about seven cases of the plague are reported

annually, with 80% being bubonic.

In the 14th century, the plague was responsible for killing 3050% of people in parts of Europe, according to NPR. People who survived this version of the plague may have developed mutations in their genes that helped protect them from the plague’s pathogens.

These mutations may have been passed down from generation to generation to Americans of European descent. However, one of these mutations may also lead to an increased risk of an autoimmune disease like Crohn’s disease.

According to AP News, the risk of plague can be reduced by clearing garbage in an orderly fashion, as well as locking away pet food. Squirrels and chipmunks can also carry plague, so people may want to be cautious of having bird feeders if they are near infected areas.

The Mayo Clinic recommends taking preventative measures such as removing potential nesting areas for rodents and using flea-control medicines for pets. Insect repellents that have DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, paramenthane-3,8-diol or 2-undecanone can also be used on skin and clothing to prevent fleas for adults.

Although there is no vaccine for the plague, antibiotics can help when exposed.

Alabama Supreme Court rules that frozen embryos are children

The Alabama Supreme Court recently ruled that frozen embryos stored in test tubes should be considered children. Since the ruling, health systems around the state have paused their in-vitro fertilization treatments, impacting hundreds of families.

The case involved three couples who received IVF treatments at an Alabama fertility clinic. All three had additional embryos that were frozen and stored in the clinic, with the hope of being able to use those embryos in a future pregnancy. However, in December of 2020, a patient entered the clinic’s cryo-presevation, opening the tanks the embryos were stored in and accidentally dropping the tubes.

The couples sued the clinic in multiple lawsuits, including one citing the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. This Alabama law allows parents to “recover punitive damages for their child’s death,” as indicated in the Court’s ruling. While the trial judge dismissed the case and stated that embryos are not considered children, the couples appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which stated that the act applied to this case.

In the ruling, the justices stated that the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act never defined “child” and declared that “unborn children are ‘children’ under the Act, without exception based on developmental stage, physical location, or any other ancillary characteristics.”

“Even before birth, all human beings have the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory,” Chief Justice Tom Parker wrote in a concurring opinion, according to

the New York Times.

Since the ruling was passed, the University of Alabama at Birmingham health system announced that it was pausing IVF treatments as they deliberate the impacts the ruling would have on their work. While its Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility is still retrieving eggs from women hoping to get IVF treatments, the eggs would not be combined with sperm. The health system is also pausing its embryo implantation procedures.

“We are saddened that this will impact our patients’ attempt to have a baby through I.V.F.,” a statement from the health system said, “but we must evaluate the potential that our patients and our physicians could be prosecuted criminally or face punitive damages for following the standard of care for I.V.F. treatments.”

According to Joshua Sharfstein, the vice dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, there are concerns that frozen embryos may be damaged or destroyed before being transferred, making physicians and hospitals concerned about the legal consequences of this ruling.

Sharfstein also discussed concerns about the ruling on the genetic testing embryos undergo before implementation.

“Many couples… seek IVF so that they can have embryos genetically tested prior to implantation, and if this genetic mutation is discovered in an embryo, the embryo is usually discarded,” Sharfstein said. “Does that mean that pre-implantation genetic testing should no longer take place because you can’t discard the embryos?”

In light of these pauses in IVF

treatments, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Alabama have responded to protect IVF treatment and providers in the state. Republican Sen. Tim Melson proposed a bill in the Senate that would provide “civil and criminal immunity to persons providing goods and services related to in vitro fertilization except acts of omission that are intentional and not arising from or related to IVF services.” According to NPR, Melson is also planning on introducing legislation that would specify that embryos are not viable unless they are implanted.

In the U.S. Congress, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) is planning on also pushing a vote on her 2022 bill that would protect access to IVF across the nation and guarantee that patients have authority over how sperm and egg cells are used. She is hoping that the recent court case and voter pressure would make Republicans support the bill, as compared to 2022 when Republicans blocked

the bill’s passing.

“Republicans seem to finally be getting the message that they are out of touch with what vast majorities of Americans—even pro-life Americans—want,” Duckworth said, according to Time.

While lawmakers and patients continue to grapple over the consequences of the Alabama ruling, Dr. Paula Amato, the president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, argued that there was no scientific basis for the decision and warned about the future of fertility care in Alabama.

“The court held that a fertilized frozen egg in a fertility clinic freezer should be treated as the legal equivalent of an existent child or a fetus gestating in a womb. Science and everyday common sense tell us they are not” Amato said, according to the New York Times. “Modern fertility care will be unavailable to the people of Alabama.”

March 1, 2024 The Signal page 11
Photo courtesy of Flickr A cat in Oregon recently gave its owner the bubonic plague, causing concern. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are considered children.

WTSR / Moonroof makes their mark at WTSR’s Underground

Continued from page 1

The musicians moved south from Bloomburg, Pennsylvania, to the Philadelphia area and met Fordyce who joined the band.

Moonroof has released two albums and one EP since its debut. The EP, titled “TOMOS,” came out in November 2023 and showcased the band’s signature indie pop sound. During its WTSR Underground set, Moonroof played groovy “Maybe Crazy,” off of “TOMOS,” along with pining “Honey Honey” and unreleased, vivacious “Bottle It Up.”

The musicians said that they take inspiration from indie pop and indie rock artists such as The Killers and The 1975.

After catching sight of Moonroof’s

indie work, independent record label Free Dive Records signed the band in October 2020. Through the label, the band met producer Victor Sabatino who aids the band in its creative song making process. For Moonroof, making music is a collaborative process powered by individually inspired ideas.

“Trying to make music like an actual band does, we sit in the room and we just try to go out and just make the best song possible,” Kim said.

Moonroof intentionally makes music with spirit and catchy melodies to make for high energy shows. The band puts its heart into its live performances, and its ability to captivate an audience was evident at WTSR Underground.

“You just put your soul out there and

your passion out there,” Kim said.

As every band does, Moonroof has faced multiple challenges as their fame has kickstarted. Through social media, the group is trying to expand their fanbase and get recognized on a larger scale. However, because of the abundance of local, smaller artists also utilizing social media to gain recognition, the group has faced hardships in this process.

“There’s just so many artists, there’s so much music being uploaded every single day — it’s hard to stand out,” Rendine said.

Despite these challenges, the group prevails and sticks together. They have a close-knit bond, and spend most of their time together.

“We’ve been very lucky and fortunate as a band, the chemistry of the band is growing as well,” Kim said.

As the band continues to grow, they have an abundance of aspirations and plans for the future. This summer, they will be debuting their next album and touring cities in the midwest and south. They also have three upcoming singles that will be featured on the album: “Bottle It Up,” “2 a.m.” and an unnamed third song.

On their upcoming tour, the band will be hosting shows at multiple major cities, such as Pittsburgh, Denver and Chicago. In addition, they are planning to perform an album release show in the summer to celebrate their latest project. This Friday, March 1, they will be opening for Wheatus at The Queen in Wilmington, Delaware

“We’re just super pumped — let’s just say good things will come,” Kim said.

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Kohesion battles against Rider and Stockton in their Street K-Fighter event

Kohesion, the College’s K-Pop dance team, recently hosted Street K-Fighter, a competitive dance battle featuring Stockton’s Take(X) and Rider’s Pulse Dance Crew. This event, which occurred on Feb. 25, consisted of K-Pop dance covers by all three of the dance crews, snacks and a final winner.

The event started off with an introduction to the Kohesion Executive Board, and was then followed by an introduction to all three dance teams and the judges. The dance teams all shared their excitement to perform for everyone.

Before starting the competition, the three dance teams all performed their intro medleys. During their intro medleys, they performed songs by Tomorrow X Together, Crush, LE SSERAFIM, EXO, SHINee, Dynamicduo, ATEEZ, ITZY, NMIXX and VIVIZ. These songs got everyone in the crowd hyped up and prepared them for the promising competition.

After their practice round, the competition finally began. Round one highlighted the upperclassmen in the

three dance teams. Pulse Dance Crew kicked off the first round by performing “Monster” by Red Velvet – Irene & Seulgi and “Do not touch” by MISAMO. Kohesion followed with a performance of the songs “Easy” by STRAY KIDS and “HALAZIA” by ATEEZ. Take(X) was the last to perform, and ended the round with a performance of “Bad Boy” by Red Velvet and “Drama” by aespa.

At the end of the first round, the three judges in the front discussed their performances. They announced Kohesion as the winner of the first round.

It was then time for the second round, which emphasized the underclassmen in the dance teams. Kohesion started the round off with the upbeat songs “ICY” by ITZY and “Red Flavor” by Red Velvet. Take(X) continued the round with two girl group songs, and Pulse Dance Crew was last with an energetic performance of two boy group songs, one by PENTAGON and the other by SEVENTEEN. The judges announced Pulse Dance Team as the winner of the second round.

Connor DePre, a sophomore software engineering student at Drexel University, shared his thoughts about the event.

“It’s going very good and it’s fun. I definitely will come back to more Kohesion events in the future,” he said.

After a quick 10-minute intermission where people could grab a few snacks, it was finally time for the final round. This round was a generation battle, where each team would perform K-Pop songs from different generations. Kohesion was assigned second generation, Pulse Dance Crew was assigned third generation and Take(X) was assigned fourth generation.

This time, Stockton began the third round by performing “FANCY” by TWICE and “HIP” by MAMAMOO. Rider was next with a performance of

“Blue Flame” by LE SSERAFIM and “Siren” by RIIZE. Kohesion ended the round off with “Don’t Call Me” by SHINee and “I Am The Best” by 2NE1, the latter of which elicited happy gasps from the audience.

The judges expressed that all the teams did an excellent job and that it was very difficult to decide on the final winner. They declared that Pulse Dance Crew is first place, with Kohesion as second place and Take(X) as third. The judges further

explained that Pulse Dance Crew had amazing energy and were always in sync.

The Pulse Dance Crew came up to the front near the judges and made a small speech after winning.

Street K-Fighter was an enjoyable event consisting of multiple performances of various K-Pop group songs, showcasing talented dancers from three different colleges, and it clearly showed how much time, hard work and effort they put into learning the dances.

The Signal’s Underground Playlist

Maybe Crazy

Photo by Indigo Guarduci Eric Juelke, Kevin Randolph, Dave Kim, Dan Rendine and Johnny Fordyce. Photo by Shane Gillespie Kohesion’s Street K-Fighter.
Sarah All Night Moonroof
Alex G
Men I Trust You
3 Dollars Petals TOPS
I Know You
Faye Webster (You) On My Arm Leith Ross

Archivists, director of Odesa Fine Arts Museum discuss protecting art during war

The College held a panel in the library auditorium on Feb. 20, discussing the destruction of Ukrainian art and artifacts and the efforts of archivists to preserve Ukrainian culture, as part of the program known as “Two Years Gone” which explores the impact of the ongoing war on Ukraine’s cultural heritage.

The panelists included Oleksandra Kovalchuk, the director of Odesa Fine Arts Museum, the College’s Archivist and Special Collections Librarian, Debra Schiff and Dr. Tetyana Yaroshenko, Head of the research management office at the National University of Kyiv. The discussion was moderated by Taras Pavlovsky, dean of the College’s Library.

The destruction of cultural sites and artifacts due to ongoing conflicts is a pressing issue, as war perpetuates cultural genocide. Artifacts attest to historical events and often hold deep symbolic value. Awareness of the often strategic elimination of artifacts is more important as ever as the destruction of cultural sites and objects is currently taking place not only in Ukraine as the war continues, but also as a result of the Israel–Hamas war.

Often, the devastation of war leaves important institutions such as museums emptied of their objects, as museums are forced to remove the artwork or risk its obliteration. Kovalchuk described the anxiety surrounding preserving the collection at the Odesa Fine Arts Museum. The museum managed to evacuate most of the extensive

collection before the Russian invasion, while also managing to help other museums protect their collections. They then turned their attention to preserving public monuments.

“At that moment, it was chaotic. And for some museums, it was like, imagine taking Mona Lisa from the wall and throwing it into your truck,” said Kovalchuk.

Even after the departure of the art, tours were still given of Odesa Museum. However, this time it was the haunting emptiness of the neoclassical building that left an impression on viewers. Eventually, the museum began to work with contemporary artists, who documented the experience of the war through their art.

Despite the difficulty of finding new temporary homes for the collection,

Former parenting YouTuber Ruby Franke faces up to

Former family YouTuber Ruby Franke was sentenced to a maximum of 30 years in prison for aggravated child abuse on Feb. 20. Franke pleaded guilty to four counts related to separate incidents of abuse, each carrying a consecutive sentence of 1-15 years. However, Utah law limits consecutive sentences to a maximum of 30 years.

Franke was first arrested in early September 2023 after her then 12-yearold son ran to a neighbor’s house to ask for help. The neighbor told 911 operators that the child was injured, emaciated and had duct tape on his wrists and ankles.

At the nearby home of Franke’s business partner, Jodie Hildebrandt, a 10-year-old child was found in similar conditions, and the four youngest Franke children were taken into state custody.

Franke and Hildebrandt were each

charged with six counts of felony child abuse against the two young children.

Franke became a public figure after her family vlogging channel, 8passengers, rose to popularity. Over the years, Franke’s channel gained more than 2.6 million subscribers, but not without its fair share of criticism.

Franke’s authoritarian parenting style concerned many onlookers, leading to a 2020 Change.org petition asking Utah Child Protective Services to investigate the family.

Before her arrest, Hildebrandt was a mental health counselor and creator of ConneXions Classroom, an online mental health curriculum.

In 2019, Franke hired Hildebrandt to counsel one of her sons. Hildebrandt would soon become a mentor to Franke and the two teamed up to create the @ moms_of_truth Instagram page and ConneXions Youtube channel. On their various accounts, the pair gave out

which traces its history from the 19th century, the efforts were well worth the struggle. On Nov. 5, 2023, the museum building sustained significant damage following a Russian air attack.

Within five weeks, the museum had reopened, according to Kovalchuk. This time there was a Christmas tree in the museum.

“In war, it’s really important to have faith in good things,” said Kovalchuk.

While Kovalchuk spoke to the ability of art to instill resilience in times of war, both Schiff and Yaroshenko offered insight into the importance of documenting Ukrainian’s experience.

One of the ways in which we can prevent cultural genocide is through diligent documentation, said Schiff. She cited the importance of organizations such as the International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage. ICCROM has been instrumental in documenting damage to cultural sites.

“Ukrainian culture, past, present and future, is on the front lines of the brutal war in Ukraine,” said Yaroshenko. She also raised concern for the fate of libraries in Ukraine.

According to Library Journal, 155 libraries have been fully destroyed by Russian forces. A December 2022 report issued by the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy stated that the devastation of Ukrainian libraries is responsible for close to 40 percent of all damage to the country’s cultural heritage infrastructure. Prior to the war, over 14,350 Ukrainian public libraries served as an interconnected network of institutions. However, by the end of 2022, the number fell to 11,993.

“The first step is destroying books,” said Yaroshenko. “Destroying the culture and heritage of Ukraine is an attack not only against the Ukrainian people, but also against world culture and heritage.”

30 years in prison

parenting and mental health advice from a religious perspective.

Franke reached a plea deal with the prosecution in December 2023 and two of six charges were dropped after she agreed to testify against Hildebrandt.

In her plea agreement, Franke admitted to various shocking incidents of physical and emotional abuse including holding a child’s head underwater, handcuffing their hands and feet, forcing her children to work long hours in the heat without sunblock, water or footwear, and convincing a child that his “punishments” were because he was “evil and possessed.”

Hidebrant soon reached her own plea deal. Without a chance to speak at Hildebrandt’s trial, Fanke read a lengthy statement at her sentencing expressing regret and describing the cult-like mentality that Hildebrandt drew her into.

“I was led to believe that this world was an evil place — filled with cops who control, hospitals that injure, government agencies that brainwash, church leaders who lie and lust, husbands who refuse to protect and children who need [to be] abused,” said Franke. “My choice to believe and behave this paranoia culminated into criminal activity, for which I stand before you today ready to take accountability.”

Franke and Hidebrandt received identical sentences and each woman must serve between four and 30 years, with the exact amount to be determined by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.

Join The Signal S

March 1, 2024 The Signal page 13
Photo courtesy of Lilly Ward Photo of the Odesa Fine Arts Museum.
... Or else
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons Franke pleaded guilty to four counts related to separate incidents of abuse.

Netflix’s romantic drama ‘One Day’ will leave you gut-wrenched

Netflix has premiered a series adaptation of the romantic drama “One Day,” which is based on David Nicholls’ acclaimed novel of the same title.

The novel and subsequent film adaptations depict the lives of Emma, portrayed by Ambika Mod, and Dexter, portrayed by Leo Woodall. The characters first encounter each other on the night of

their university graduation in Edinburgh on July 15, 1988. The narrative then unfolds, chronicling their respective life events for the following two decades.

The initial film adaptation of the novel starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, released in 2011, evoked a few tears in me. However, the emotional impact of this series far surpassed it.

The series portrays two friends who evolve into romantic partners while also navigating life’s various challenges.

‘Upgraded’: A charming yet conventional romance

The debut of “Upgraded” on Amazon Prime, featuring Camila Mendes in the role of Ana Santos, offers a beacon of hope for fans of romantic comedy, suggesting that it has the potential to rejuvenate the entire genre.

The movie revolves around Santos, a financially struggling auction house assistant with a passion for art history. When she seizes the chance to travel to London, she becomes entangled in a web of deceit, impersonating her boss while trying to navigate the elite world of VIPs without detection.

Amidst it all, a charmingly wealthy Englishman named William, played by Archie Renaux, whom Santos meets on the flight over, becomes smitten with her. This adds another layer of complexity to the story.

The scenario of the main female protagonist becoming entangled in a web of lies that escalates into larger problems while striving to avoid detection is a familiar trope in romantic comedies. Examples of this can be seen in classic films such as “She’s the Man” and “While You Were Sleeping.”

Fellow romantic comedy fans on TikTok were eagerly anticipating a new cheesy chick flick to indulge in. Some viewers saw potential in this film, comparing it to a blend of “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Cinderella,” with a touch of Picasso’s flair. However, from my perspective, the movie fell short in terms of originality and predictability.

It’s been quite some time since I watched a romantic comedy that didn’t feel like a diluted version of a previous film and its premise, and unfortunately, this movie still falls into that category.

For those well-acquainted with the phenomenon of a minor falsehood snowballing into a major deception, the trajectory of the film becomes apparent as soon as the initial lie is told. From the beginning, viewers anticipate the inevitable unraveling and downfall.

Typically, films centered around deceit and its consequences aim to

It began with a failed one-night stand on the night of their graduation. Despite the initial discomfort, they discovered a profound connection through their heartfelt conversations about their future aspirations, rather than mere physical intimacy.

Throughout the years, their friendship endured numerous adversities, including navigating career uncertainties and confronting unspoken romantic sentiments that they both avoided addressing or pursuing.

What makes this series extremely moving is the interplay between these best friends, alongside witnessing the trials they face as they mature. The series portrays the harsh realities of individuals in their 20s and 30s, including coping with loss and grappling with substance addiction.

It encapsulates the trope of one person falling for the other first, but the other falling even deeper. Through the characters, we witness a genuine love that matures over time, offering a bitter portrayal of the sometimes harsh sacrifices made for wholehearted affection.

I relished witnessing the characters evolve and transform throughout the turbulent 14-episode journey, where moments arose that caused me to shout at the screen, urging the characters to confront their true emotions. The

romantic aspect of the series unfolded gradually, yet every moment proved to be vital. Anticipate being left emotionally wrecked, as I undeniably was.

This series adaptation fixed what the 2011 film didn’t quite get right. The episodic format gave us a chance to truly get to know the characters and understand their backgrounds and personalities. Unlike the rushed pace of the movie, the series took its time, which I am immensely grateful for. Converting this novel into a series, rather than attempting another film adaptation, was undoubtedly the correct decision.

Mod and Woodall conveyed every emotion of their characters with great skill and detail. Their acting skillfully conveyed every tear shed, every voice crack, every burst of laughter and every display of rage, leaving me deeply moved. Their performances were so compelling that they sent shivers down my spine and brought tears to my eyes. It was an utterly captivating and flawlessly executed experience.

In essence, “One Day” made me realize the intense beauty and pain of love and heartbreak when you care for someone more than anything else in the world. It left me emotionally shaken for a while after watching, but I’d go through it all over again without hesitation.

Here’s a recap of the 2024


teach a lesson against dishonesty. However, in this instance, that moral message becomes somewhat blurred by the end of the movie in several ways.

Upon being discovered by her boss, Santos faced reprimand and dismissal for her impersonation.

Santos is praised by both the auction client, who is William’s mother Catherine, portrayed by Lena Olin, who herself is an actress, for her ability to “fake it till she makes it.”

Catherine then advocated for Santos to take charge of the auction and urged her boss to overlook Santos’s actions. This highlights how deceit can sometimes be overlooked rather than facing the consequences.

The romantic aspect of the film was lacking in genuine connection, given that their relationship was built on lies. William remains unaware of Santos’s true identity, and even as he pursues her at the movie’s end, their bond seems questionable in terms of its strength to prompt him to chase her halfway across the world.

This predicament could be due to the lack of screen time between the characters because their relationship was not the sole focus of the film.

A positive aspect that I do acknowledge is the adult humor sprinkled throughout. I found it to be mildly entertaining, avoiding the pitfalls of being overly cheesy or cringeworthy. Mendes demonstrates an impressive knack for injecting comedic charm into the narrative.

The saving grace of the film lies in its supporting cast, particularly Marisa Tomei, who delivers a standout performance as Santos’s ruthless art director.

In essence, I believe it’s an exaggeration to claim that this film will revolutionize the 21st century romantic comedy genre. It feels like a recycled version of superior films, executed in the same manner. While there are redeeming qualities that make it enjoyable for fans of cheesy and predictable movies, those seeking something more unconventional may need to search elsewhere.

Content warning: This article contains material that may be harmful or distressing.

This year’s British Academy Film Awards went off without a hitch — well, almost, except for Prince William’s nowviral gaffe while presenting the Rising Star Award to “How to Have Sex” star Mia McKenna-Bruce. The awards took place on Feb. 18 in London’s stunning Royal Festival Hall.

The Prince of Wales made the mistake of saying that he thought Mckenna-Bruce “had a lot of fun all the way through,” regarding her performance in the film. Given that Mckenna-Bruce’s character was raped in this movie, his comment was not taken well, according to the tone of some reports.

PinkNews called his mistake “a pretty major blunder” while Buzzfeed described it as “cringe” in their headline.

Even the three other nominees alongside McKenna-Bruce made faces that suggested to viewers they were taken aback by this comment. However, a report from Yahoo later confirmed that this moment was taken out of context.

“It appears just to be an extremely awkward photo op that should never have happened to begin with,” Yahoo said of the situation.

Other than that awkward moment, the event ran relatively smoothly with a total of 25 awards given out by the end of the night. “Oppenheimer” took the cake for the most awards won that day with a score

of seven trophies, just two trophies shy of the BAFTA award record.

“Oppenheimer” won Best Film, Supporting Actor for Robert Downey Jr., and Cinematography. The director of the film, Christopher Nolan, won a few of those seven awards himself, including Best Direction; this is a first for him, as he has never personally won a BAFTA.

“Poor Things” came in second place for most awards won, winning nearly half of its 11 nominations. Both Cillian Murphy and Emma Stone earned a welldeserved leading actor award for their role in their respective movies.

“Barbie” and “Killers of the Flower Moon” earned several nominations, but they surprisingly did not take home any wins.

Viewers have yet to see a Black actress awarded a BAFTA. Although both the “The Color Purple” star Fantasia Barrino and “Rye Lane” actress Vivian Oprah earned BAFTA nominations, they ended up going home trophyless.

On a more positive note, singer and songwriter Sophie Ellis-Bextor received rave reviews for her performance of her greatest hit, “Murder on the Dance Floor,” during the awards ceremony. This song was featured in the BAFTA-nominated film, “Saltburn.”

We also can’t forget about some of the stunning looks from the BAFTA red carpet. Some of the most memorable gowns included actress Taylor Russell’s jaw-dropping swan dress. “The Queen’s Gambit” star Anya Taylor-Joy also had a unique choice of dress, sporting a dramatic color-shifting hood.

This year’s BAFTA awards ceremony was a mostly successful run, as usual.

March 1, 2024 The Signal page 14
Photo courtesy of IMDb This adaptation of the popular novel and film will leave your heart throbbing. Photo courtesy of Flickr The BAFTA Awards is the British equivalent of the Oscars.

Women’s basketball falls in NJAC Championship

The College’s women’s basketball team had their tremendous season come to an end on Friday night in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship against New Jersey City University. NJCU was victorious in the championship for the third time in four years, defeating the Lions 6552.

Fifth year guard Julia Setaro was able to get the Lions going with a three-pointer, and junior guard Nina Branchizio followed that up with a three of her own, extending the lead to 6-0 early in the first. A six point lead was the largest lead the Lions had all game.

The Lions were forcing turnovers and energizing the crowd, but the Gothic Knights were able to weather the storm. They took their first lead on

Women’s lacrosse opens with statement win

The No. 10 Lions defeated Moravian University 25-9 in their season opener on Feb. 24. This gave them their first win in a quest for a national championship this season.


The Lions opened up their season on the road against Moravian. The College looked to find their footing early in the season with the loss of a ton of seniors from last year. A new look Lions team hopes to field a high-flying offense with depth and a defense that is extremely athletic and can dominate the transition game.

The game

The game started off with Moravian jumping out to an early 2-0 lead, taking advantage of a few fouls and turnovers from the College. The Lions then turned up the heat, scoring six straight goals and dominating at the face off circle with 10 wins in the quarter. They kept their foot on the gas and ended the quarter up 9-4.

The second quarter saw a flurry of penalties from both sides. The penalty kill and powerplay were vital in keeping the large lead. Senior secondary education major Ally Tobler and freshman secondary education major Gabriella Roosa scored on back-to-back power plays, putting the Lions up 11-5.

an and-one to make the score 11-10, and near the end of the first went up 18-15. Setaro buried two free throws with three seconds left in the quarter, and the Lions found themselves down by one after the first.

The second quarter was all NJCU. Going on an early 9-0 run and a 17-5 extended run, NJCU’s Damaris Rodriguez was starting to get whatever she wanted on the court. Rodriguez, the back-to-back NJAC Player of the Year, had 17 points in the half and was the Gothic Knights’ engine. The Lions were held to nine points in the second and a 21 percent field goal percentage.

Senior Isabella Cafaro gave the Lions a different dynamic off the bench, displaying her shooting ability as a forward. NJCU had difficulty guarding the Lions with her on the floor, as she was able to space the floor and knock down multiple outside jumpers, but picked up two questionable foul calls on illegal screens that sent her to the bench for the majority of the first half.

With the College trailing 37-26 out of the break, NJCU kept their foot on the gas and had a quick 5-0 run to go up 42-26. The Lions continued to fight though, with junior Arianna McCleod scoring five straight points on a three and a layup. Branchizio hit a three pointer of her own on the following

possession, and the score was now 43-34. The Lions fought for another defensive stop and Cafaro put in her second three of the game, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

The momentum had completely swung in the Lions’ favor, as they got another key defensive stop. NJCU was visibly rattled by the College’s resurgence, but forced a crucial steal and laid it in on the fast break to stop the bleeding. The bucket was the start of a 7-0 run for the Gothic Knights, who went up 50-38 heading into the final quarter.

The College was not able to do enough damage in the fourth to cut down the lead, with the Gothic Knights getting up as much as 60-41. The final score was 65-52, concluding quite an exciting championship game.

Cafaro led the Lions with 14 points on six of seven shooting from the field. Setaro added 11 points as well as moving into fourth place in all-time scoring for team history. McCleod chipped in seven off the bench for the Lions, while Branchizio and fifth year senior Natalie Kolb had six each. Rodriguez of NJCU led the game with 26 points.

With depth up and down the roster and a great coaching staff, this Lions team was one of the best of recent years.

Baseball gears up for their season

The middle of the second quarter saw a few turnovers from the Lions and slowed the scoring a little bit for both teams. At the end of the half, the Lions pulled away, putting up four unanswered goals in under three minutes.

The second half had the same domination by the Lions, who asserted their way of play in bunches of scores. In the third quarter, the Lions shutout Moravian and put the game fully out of reach, winning by a final score of 25-9.

Steady pieces and new faces

A few standout performances from the game were from a mix of players for the Lions. Tobler put in a great performance again with six goals and two assists. Senior nursing major Madison Wernick anchored the defense with four caused turnovers, tying her career high, and five ground balls. Another senior standout was special education major Kira Sides, who had five draw controls and three assists.

Two freshmen, Roosa and mechanical engineering major KJ Cole, came out and made a name for themselves, both scoring three goals on the day. The biggest standout was sophomore nursing major Marissa Lucca, who scored a team high seven goals. After being held out in 2023 with an injury, Lucca has given the Lions a new gear and could be a cornerstone piece in an amazing year.

The College’s baseball team is trying to build on a successful season last year. They made a magical postseason run, winning the New Jersey Athletic Conference, despite finishing the regular season at exactly .500, going 24-24 and 9-9 in conference play. The Lions were perfectly average, but they put together a Cinderella run to defeat Kean in the championship game when it mattered most.

The College is ranked fourth in the NJAC preseason poll, and will try to prove last season was no fluke. They’ll be bringing back elite position players like junior shortstop Justin Marcario, who earned third-team AllRegion after an elite sophomore season that saw him finishing top ten in the NJAC in hits, with 70, as well as 30 runs batted in with a stellar .365 batting average.

The Lions will also get returning senior Ryan Goodall, who finished first-team AllRegion last season with a team-leading 11 home runs and a .972 OPS (on-base plus slugging). He is joined by fellow senior catcher Chris Reeder, whose defensive abilities earned him All-Region defensive honors.

Also for the College, they get their dynamic duo of Ben Amon and Jackson Malouf. Malouf, a junior, was the team’s standout starter last season, leading the team with an earned run average (ERA) of just 2.81. His year earned him a plethora of honors, including first-team All-NJAC, second-team ABCA All-Region, All-Region IV Defensive Team and ABCA Gold Glove.

Fifth-year Amon will return to the fold

after having a great season himself, recording a 3.59 ERA while striking out 59 batters compared to just 19 walks. Another returning pitcher will be Joe Ferreri, who will serve as the team’s top reliever.

Standing atop the dugout will be returning manager Dean Glus, who is returning for his 15th season as the head coach, and his 31st season overall at the College. Including last year, he has amassed four NJAC championships along with seven NCAA Regional appearances. Glus is 366-249 as a head coach and has two World Series appearances in 1991 and 2002 for the Lions as an assistant coach.

The College welcomes seven new freshmen, including five pitchers: Tommy Kohler, Connor Lamanteer, Evan Frank, Jack O’Shea and Tim Porfido. This should bolster the Lions’ rotation and bullpen, and the team should be plentiful with their depth, as they did not lose too many players from last year’s squad.

If the Lions want to go back-to-back, it starts on the pitcher’s mound. The College was an abysmal second to last in the entire NJAC in ERA, getting little to no production out of their pitchers except their two aces. In addition to this, the Lions found themselves in the middle of the pack when it came to most offensive numbers as well, due to the lack of depth and consistency in the latter half of the lineup, which is usually not a recipe for success.

Regardless, the Lions will look to build upon their postseason hot streak and carry it into the new season, which begins on Feb. 29 on the road in Collegeville, Pennsylvania against Ursinus College at 2:30 p.m.

March 1, 2024 The Signal page 15
Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone Junior guard Nina Branchizio with the ball. Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone The Lions looks to build off of their NJAC title from last season. The College got their first win of the season. Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone

BASKETBALL / Men win NJAC, making NCAA Tournament

Continued from page 1

The Ospreys went on a 13-0 run during these seven minutes, and were able to get the lead to two points, the closest the game had been since early in the first half.

A free throw from star sophomore guard Nick Koch was able to end the scoreless skid for the Lions, and woke their offense back up. The Ospreys hit a three pointer to cut the lead to three with four minutes remaining, but

those would be the last points that they would score.

The College ended the game scoring the final 10 points, their third double digit run of the game, and they did not miss a free throw in the final two minutes. They ended up winning 75-62, and as the No. 5 team entering the tournament, they became the lowest seed to ever claim the NJAC Championship.

“Winning the NJAC was a surreal feeling,” Koch said. “Looking around

and seeing the team run up to me once the buzzer sounded was the best feeling. As a team we put in so much work during the season on and off the court, and we deserved this championship.”

Koch, a second-team All-NJAC member this season, led the offensive production for the Lions. He scored 20 points on an efficient 6-11 from the field, and he also added seven assists and three rebounds in his title-winning performance. Also, Koch played 40 minutes in this game, making this the first time in his collegiate career where he did not leave the court once.

Junior forward Matthew Okorie also had a stellar performance, scoring 19 points and getting nine rebounds in 36 minutes of action. His 19 points were tied for the second most of his career, and it is only behind his 21-point performance in the NJAC semifinals against Rowan that got the College into this championship.

Beckwith also put together one of his best games as a Lion, as his 17 points were tied for his second most in a game at the College, and his five threes were tied for the most he has had in a game.

This win gave the Lions a record of 20-8. This year and the 2020 season are the only two times the College has won 20 games in a season in the 21st

Men’s swimming and diving’s record breaking meet propels them to NJAC title

The men’s swimming and diving team’s dominant season continued last weekend at the four-day New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship meet that began on Feb. 15. The Lions dominated the meet, as eight school records were broken, and Lions placed first in 15 events and finished in the top three 21 times.

The first day of the meet saw the Lions make an early splash with the 200-yard medley relay. The relay team, composed of sophomore Andrew Kidchob, junior Ryan VanDeVeen and seniors James McChesney and Dixon Kahler, broke the program record with a time of 1:28.63 en route to a first place finish that saw them beat the United States Merchant Marine Academy by less than four tenths of a second.

The 800-yard freestyle relay again saw the Lions come out on top, beating the competition by six seconds.

Friday saw the Lions continue their dominant streak with five first place finishes and multiple record breaking events.

Sophomore Gavin Formon had a great day, taking first place in the 500-yard freestyle. Formon was able to secure his first individual NJAC gold medal with the win.

McChesney took home the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 19.88.

Junior Ryan Higgins had a fantastic day on Friday, winning his first individual NJAC title in the 200-yard individual medley. Higgins broke the school record for that event, with a time of 1:47.82.

The last event of the second day saw the Lions place first again on the back of a record breaking performance by the 400-yard medley relay team. The relay team included Kidchob, VanDeVeen, McChesney and sophomore Richard Park. The record time was 3:15.73.

Junior Ethan Weiss had a great performance on the board Friday, winning the 1-meter dive championship with a score of 461.65.

Saturday saw the men’s team continue to dominate, with the Lions winning three events and placing on the podium multiple times.

Higgins had a phenomenal day, setting another program record with

century. For Stockton, this loss stung. This was the fifth consecutive season that they have made the conference championship game, but they have gone 1-4 in those five games. However, they were still able to get an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament, joining the College and Rowan University as the three teams from the NJAC to get into the pool of 64 teams selected.

The Lions will now look to continue their hot streak into the NCAA Tournament. They will travel to Keene, New Hampshire to take on Eastern University in the first round on March 1 at 3:45 p.m. Eastern, who will be traveling from St. Davids, Pennsylvania, is 20-7 on the season, and won their first ever MAC Commonwealth championship this season, which gave them an automatic bid into the tournament.

“It was cool winning the championship, but we know we can win more games and aren’t done yet,” Koch said. “We are going into these games with the same mindset as we did the playoffs, and are ready to take on any challenges we face.”

If the Lions can win their first round matchup, they will face the winner of No. 5 Keene State College and Marymount University in the second round on March 2 at 6:45 p.m.

Softball loses home opener

a time of 3:50.53 in the 400-yard individual medley. Formon placed second in the race with a time of 3:55.48.

McChesney came within a second of breaking his own Division III 200yard freestyle record with a time of 1:35.95 in his first place finish, the College’s second of the day.

VanDeVeen broke the program record in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 54.39 in another first place finish for the Lions.

Kidchob had two podium finishes Saturday, one in the 100-yard butterfly and the other in the 100yard backstroke.

The last day of the NJAC Championship meet saw the Lions break three more records to officially bring home the title for the third year in a row. Gavin Formon broke his own school record in the 1650-yard freestyle with a time of 15:32.88 en route to another first place finish for the Lions.

Higgins’ exceptional weekend continued on Sunday with him breaking the 200-yard backstroke school record with a time of 1:45.88. Junior Andrew Walter also placed on the podium with a time of 1:51.19.

VanDeVeen broke the 200-yard breaststroke program record with a time of 1:58.76. Junior Shawn Kushner had a podium finish, with a time of 2:01.11.

The Lions ended the meet with a big first place finish in the 400-freestyle relay, with a time of 3:00.30.

The Lions were able to cruise past their competition, finishing with a score of 1564 points, 187 more than second place.

With the NJAC Championship meet over, the Lions’s postseason continues with NCAA Diving Regionals, which take place March 1 and 2.

The College’s No. 22 softball team put up a fight during its 2024 season opener on Feb. 28, but ultimately fell 6-1 to DeSales University. The game, which was originally scheduled as the first of a doubleheader, was played at home at Dr. June Walker Field.

The second game was canceled due to rain. At the time of the cancellation, the score was tied 0-0.

In the first game, the scoreboard remained empty until the bottom of the fifth inning when the Lions bagged their first and only run. Senior catcher Julia Mayernik scored the unearned run.

The Lions’ were unable to maintain their lead. The DeSales Bulldogs were quick to fight back, and ended up dominating the game.

The Bulldogs scored all six of their runs in the top of the sixth inning. Senior second baseman Victoria Agnoli scored an unearned run to tie the game. Shortly after, sophomore shortstop Morgan Brenner scored to put the Bulldogs in the lead.

The Bulldogs continued their fury with a slew of unearned runs from senior outfielder Kayleigh Ferraro, junior first baseman Tori Kenney, first-year outfielder Kiara Castera and first-year infielder Paige Hromin.

No runs were scored for either team in the seventh inning.

This loss was a rare one for the Lions, who took first place in the New Jersey Athletic Conference last season, going 15-3, with an overall record of 32-11. The Lions are 13-time NJAC Champions and six-time NCAA Champions.

DeSales went 23-13 overall and 8-8 in the Mid Atlantic Conference last season, but the Bulldogs started their year on a positive note with their win against the Lions. The win brings their current record to 1-0.

The Lions play next on March 2 in a doubleheader against New York University. The games will commence at Dr. June Walker Field at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone Sophomore guard Nick Koch has been the leader of the Lions’ offense this season. Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone The Lions in a diving event.
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